What I’m doing here is making a wheat starch paste and combining it with PVA (polyvinyl acetate, or plain old white glue). This achieves several things. It thins the glue so you can spread it thinly across the paper with ease.

It also slows the drying time, giving you more time to work. I find this especially helpful when I’m binding books or working with large sheets of paper that need to be entirely coated with glue before mounting them on something.

And, the final thing it does makes the cheapskate inside me very happy. It doubles the amount of glue you have. Considering acid-free archival quality PVA runs about $50/L, this handy doubling trick makes me very happy.

The paste is very easy to make. All you need is wheat starch (get it at your local Asian grocer, it’ll be about $2 for more than you’ll ever need) and water; 1tsp wheat starch to 2tbsp water. I wouldn’t recommend making any less than a 2tsp:4tbsp batch in one go or you’ll probably lose more of it to the pan than you’ll actually be able to use.

Wheat Starch Paste

4 tsp wheat starch
8 tbsp water

Place the starch in a small saucepan. Whisk in a little bit of water to make a paste. Add the rest of the water and whisk to combine.

Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens noticeably.

Remove the pan from the heat and whisk as the mixture cools. After five minutes or so the mixture should be cool enough (it should not congeal and become jello-y or the final product will be lumpy).

Decant the paste into a jar. Top it off with an equal amount of PVA. Mix together. Seal the jar, placing a layer of cling film between the lid and the jar to prevent the jar from gluing itself shut.

Use for all your arts and crafts!

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